DAY 8


ALVAIAZERE – RABACAL

3 APRIL 2018

31.1km (for Berto)
0.0km (for me – I’ve made use of a lift with Carlos’ son)

It rained through the night and when we got up, it was still raining. Berto will walk to Rabacal today, while I’m taking a lift with Carlos’ son. The Finnish couple and Berto decided to walk together, but the Italians said they will make another plan because, according to them, there was no way they will walk in this weather!

Berto walked the entire route in rain – sometimes just a drizzle, but most of the time it was hard and continuous rain. That meant he took no photo’s and we cannot show you the beauty of the way.

He did mentioned that they’ve walked mostly through olive groves and crop fields, which meant a lot of mud walking! I would have loved walking on these roads (maybe not in the rain), but it was not meant to be this time …

Instead, Carlos’ son (a third-year student at the University of Coimbra) took me in his car to Rabacal. We had a nice chat on the way – he told me how he loves coming back to Rabacal for weekends and holidays to help his dad at the albergue. He was looking forward getting his degree, but said he would like to then work in a small town. I was glad to hear this, because we’ve heard on many occasions in Portugal that the younger generation is leaving their small home towns to live and work in the bigger cities. The same thing is happening in South Africa where children are abandoning their villages/towns which results in ghost towns. Me and Carlos’ son had one thing in common: Neither of us likes big cities!

Accommodation – Rabacal:

Hostel O Bonito – Rua da Igreja, Rabacal

I’ve arrived in Rabacal at around 10:00. It was still way too early to book into the hostel (Hostel O Bonito), but I’ve walked into the adjacent café to have a hot coffee.

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Hostel O Bonito, our overnight accommodation for the night

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The swimming pool at Hostel O Bonito. I presume in summer time this will be a good place to be, but today only the rain filled the pool!

The lady at the café offered me another coffee on the house (to apologize that I had to wait for a bed – which was unnecessary as it was still very early … such friendly and accommodating people!)

The (possible) answer to my swollen ankle:

The “hospitaleiro” of the hostel had a look at my foot and said it looked as if something bitten/stung me for which I had an allergic reaction … I’ve never thought about this, but suddenly the itchy feeling together with the pain make sense!

She mentioned that in some pine forests there are pine caterpillars that one can step on and their larvae hairs can be irritating to human skin. And yes, we did walk through some pine forests and I also remembered the day that we’ve walked in the rain to Golega and saw all these caterpillars on the road where we were walking … could these be the culprits responsible for my swollen ankle?

I’ve immediately took an antihistamine tablet (I normally carry these with me for hay fever). I hope I have not done more damaged by continued walking …

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Our beds in Hostel O Bonito

The rain stopped for a moment and I’ve wandered down the street of Rabacal. It is such a small village (according to Brierley’s guidebook, their population is only around 1000). I’ve taken two photo’s and that basically covered the town!

The small village of Rabacal

It started to rain again and I’ve quickly returned to the café to have more coffee. It was lunchtime and some workers came in to have something to eat and drink. It was the perfect spot to observe the locals – something I love doing!

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Locals enjoying lunchtime in the café at hostel O Bonito

The antihistamine tablet I had earlier, caused some drowsiness and I went to our dorm to take a nap. Berto woke me up at around 15:30 when they’ve arrived soaking wet from their walk. They were literally covered in mud and immediately looked for a shower and then a hot cup of coffee.

We’ve done some laundry and tumble dried our clothes – the instructions on the labels of our hiking clothes clearly states “no tumble dry”, but we were at the point of either use the drier or walk with wet clothes!

The small café down the street sold some cheese and cured meat and together with Portuguese bread rolls, we had a fine meal. The Finns shared the dorm with us, while one of the Italians had his own room next to us (the other Italian found transport that took him to Coimbra). With our red wine, we’ve retired to our dorm where it was warm and dry.

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Red wine in bed!

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I have no ankle anymore – swollen from my toes to my lower leg!

The “hospitaleiro” informed me earlier today that a bus passes through the town every morning at 9:30 on its way to Coimbra.

Berto will continue walking tomorrow, while I’ll take the bus to Coimbra. I’m sure there will be a shop that sells hiking sandals where my “big foot” will fit into – which means I can hopefully soon start walking again.

Categories: Portuguese Camino (April 2018)

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